Sean Castrina Joins Us On The Steve Jobs Inspired Join Up Dots Podcast
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Introducing Sean Castrina
Sean Castrina is today’s guest joining us on the Steve Jobs inspired Join Up Dots business podcast.
He is a serial entrepreneur, having started more than 20 companies over the last 20 years, and still seeks to launch a new venture annually.
He is an investor, teacher and highly-sought-after speaker who communicates with humour and a bluntness that engages and captures his audience.
He is the author of 8 Unbreakable Rules for Business Startup Success, The Greatest Entrepreneur in the World, and World’s Greatest Business Plan.
He was born in the Bronx, New York and raised in Maryland.
He was born legally blind having been a research study for John Hopkins Hospitals Wilmer Eye Institute where he has had countless eye surgeries.
In middle school he was introduced to the sport of wrestling where he would go on to becoming a state champion and earning a Division 1 athletic scholarship.
How The Dots Joined Up For Sean
In his mid 20’s the startup adventure would begin with a simple auto detailing business “WaxMaster” that would serve as a test tube for what would distil a blueprint for
what would later become a home service empire.
However it would be an annual family vacation that would spark a passion for writing and teaching the secrets and formulas that he had used over the years.
While sitting on the beach he would scribble 80 lessons he wished he would have known prior to becoming a startup junky.
These simple lessons would be distilled in his first book 8 Unbreakable Rules for Business Startup Success.
So what makes him want to go through an annual startup drive, when he could sit back and chill?
And where do most people go wrong nowadays when ploughing headfirst into the world of online and startups?
Well lets find out as we bring onto the show to start joining up dots with the one and only Mr Sean Castrina
During the show we discussed such weighty topics with Sean Castrina such as:
Sean shares his belief that for everything weakness appearing in his life an equal strength is also ready to appear
We chat openly about the difference of being an entrepreneur instead of working for a large corporation.
Why every business opportunity presents itself in three ways each and everytime.
Sean shares the pre-nuptial agreement that he sets up directly before agreeing to work with anyone. Sensible advice
Books By Sean Castrina
How To Connect With Sean Castrina
You can also check our extensive podcast archive by clicking here – enjoy
Full Transcription Of Sean Castrina Interview
When we’re young, we have an amazing positive outlook about how great life is going to be. But somewhere along the line we forget to dream and end up settling. Join Up Dots features amazing people who refuse to give up and chose to go after their dreams. This is your blueprint for greatness. So here’s your host live from the back of his garden in the UK. David Ralph.
David Ralph [0:25]
Yes, hello there. Good morning, my friends. Good morning and thank you so much for listening to this edition of the Join Up Dots podcast and of course the coaching and everything else we’ve got going on as well. A lot of you are connecting with us personally. Thank you so much. You know, don’t sit out there be scared if you got a question to ask us drop us a line. You can either come over to the website or go over to email Join Up firstname.lastname@example.org and drop us a line and we will help you in any way. Now today’s guest is on the show. He is somebody that has got so much experience that he will be able to share with us. He is a serial entrepreneur having started more than 20 Companies over the last 20 years, and he still seeks to launch a new venture annually. He’s an investor teacher and highly sought after speaker who communicates with humour, and some might say bluntness, but engages and captures his audience. He’s the author of eight unbreakable rules for business startups success, the greatest entrepreneur in the world and the world’s greatest business plan. Now originally, he was born in the Bronx, New York and been raised in Maryland and unfortunately well I don’t know it may be his he was one of those things in Join Up Dots that turns out to be a good thing. He was born legally blind, having been a research study the john hopkins hospital’s Wilmer Eye Institute, where he’s had countless II surgeries. Now in middle school, he was introduced to the sport of wrestling, where we would go on to become a state champion, and earn a division one athletic scholarship. Now in his mid 20s, the startup adventure would begin with a simple auto detailing business a wax master that would serve as a test For what would distil a blueprint, but what would later become a home service Empire. However, it would be an annual family vacation that would spark a passion for writing and teaching the secrets and formulas that he has used over the years while sitting on the beach. He would scribble at lessons he wished he would have known prior to becoming a startup junkie. Now these simple lessons would be distilled in his first book, A unbreakable rules for Business Startup success. So what makes him want to go from an annual startup drive when he could just sort of sit back and chill? And where do most people go wrong nowadays, when ploughing headfirst into the world of online and startups? Well, let’s find out as we bring onto the show to start joining up dots with the one and only Mr. Sean Castrina. Good Morning Sean
Sean Castrina [2:51]
Very, very good.
David Ralph [2:52]
is lovely to have you on. So can I just jump because one of the things that I’ve been doing a lot of research about you I can see you’re not you When reading glasses, or did did your eyesight recover? Oh, well,
Sean Castrina [3:05]
we are obviously over the years, you know, I had, I have a, my brother who’s born before me is completely blind can’t even see light. So he’s, you know, definitely completely blind and then I was born legally blind. So I’ve had numerous eye surgeries and my vision is still at the very end of the, like in America like 2040 is what you need to have to be able to drive. Yeah, and I have to I have to go in my doctor’s office and do my eye exam and they’re like, I can’t do it in a normal DMV, I would never pass. So now with hard contacts and different things that they’ve made. I’ve had, like I had, you know, normally you get like, what is that surgery where they go in trying to think of it there’s an eye surgery you get when you get a lot older. I forgot what the name of it is. And it’s just running a blank. I had that in my 20s just as an egg. example where you know where you start with your eyes are kind of foggy. Oh cataract cataract cataract Exactly. I, I give an example I had cataract surgery at 29.
David Ralph [4:10]
Right. And so, as we said at the beginning with Join Up Dots, most of the time, the guests will go, that was terrible, but actually, it’s been the making of me, has this helped you find other ways around? Are you more eager to solve problems because of it?
Sean Castrina [4:28]
You know, I think anytime you have a challenge when you you know, I knew I couldn’t see as well as other people. So like playing baseball, I tried that for like, two weeks and realise that didn’t that like having, you know, an 85 mile an hour pitch thrown at me. But you know, for wrestling and I played soccer, you know, soccer you don’t have to see great, the balls a little bit bigger, but you just kind of kind of adjust and wherever you’re weak at something you I think there’s always a correlating strength. If you you know, if you find it and You know, soccer I was really good at and that worked out fine. And then wrestling was perfect because you just don’t need to see a lot to grab somebody and and throw them to the ground.
David Ralph [5:12]
I love that. So you think really sort of weave conviction. But if you’ve got a weakness, look for the strength and is going to be sort of the polar
Sean Castrina [5:21]
opposite. Yeah, there’s always I think there’s always a correlating strength where there’s a weakness,
David Ralph [5:26]
really and stuff. Okay? So jot that down, you listeners. So let’s get into it. Right. A lot of people will build a company and then they will go, that’s good enough. That’s gonna sit on a beach with a couple of swimwear models and cocktails and just live a good life. Why do you want to keep doing it? What is the actual core thrill to you?
Sean Castrina [5:49]
I think that’s when you know whether you’re an entrepreneur or not. Some people are just a business owner. They start one business they hold on to it for dear life. They’re glad they’re making money and you know, that might be the person who starts like a, I guess would be a pub in your area. They start it. They had that one idea at one time that one, you know, little bit of courage and they start it. And then that’s it. So I classify that as a business owner. I’m an entrepreneur, I’m always looking for other opportunities, new opportunities, I’m always looking to expand something. I’m always looking to invest in something and I think there’s a different mindset between the two.
David Ralph [6:29]
I think so I do a lot of coaching and one of the things that has been quite evident over the years is people are, well, they’re not even by they haven’t had the training to use different eyes to see opportunities around them. They almost wait until something lands in front of them and then they grab hold of it. Now, generally, there’s business ideas everywhere, and whatever you do, there’s either a product or a service being being structured or being built or being run Is this something that we can train people to actually use different eyes? Because as I always say to my clients, once you get those eyeballs, you can’t stop seeing opportunities everywhere.
Sean Castrina [7:11]
Yes, no, I think that you know that everybody should have an entrepreneurial mindset. And let me define that. I believe that 40 hours a week, let’s just talk about America just for a second because that’s my culture. 40 hours a week pays the bills. It’s the 41st hour that starts building your life, whether that’s where you get, you know, additional training, whether that’s, you know, another job that you get, or whether that’s a business opportunity you take care of, so you always got to do something extra just to get started on that. I think you need additional income to really get ahead anywhere. So my my philosophy is, is that you always need to be able to look for an opportunity and I always say they present themselves in three ways. This is how you can have an entrepreneurial set of eyes. What is a problem, you’ve recently had, and that you solved because typically there’s a problem somebody else’s had it, there’s a business there, all my businesses stem from that one thing. Second thing is is that is there a need that needs to be met? You know? And third, is there a want a desire that needs to be satisfied that’s like, you know, like a high end vacation, the difference between maybe a BMW, a Jaguar, Mercedes, and you know, a Kia or Hyundai. So typically businesses fall into one of those three categories.
David Ralph [8:33]
Now, of course, it’s alright having one of those categories landed in your lap. As you were talking, I was reflecting on the fact that, as I mentioned, a lot of times on the show a few years ago, I had acute burnout, it almost brought me to my knees really did bring me to my knees, and I’ve solved it. And so many people say to me, how have you overcome that? How have you bounced back? And I’ve got all the answers, but I can’t be bothered to do a business in that regard. Does it have to excite you? Or can you just sort of walk away from it and being okay is a business, I’ll build it and then let somebody else run it.
Sean Castrina [9:07]
I can walk away from any business in that. Because I always have something new to that, that gets my interest. So I partner in all my businesses. So my whole business model is I’m really good at getting seeing the idea, identifying the opportunity, getting it off the ground, but I generally always partner with someone. So once I get it up and going about 18 months in that person takes it over and runs the day to day of it. So that’s my strategy always.
David Ralph [9:39]
And how do you find the right people? Because I you hear nightmare stories of co founders that fold out and screw each other over and how did you find the right people?
Sean Castrina [9:51]
Yeah, I think the key is also to look at all the ones that have been successful when you look at Walt Disney. You know, Walt, without Roy, there would never have been a Disney You look at Hewlett Packard, you look at Microsoft, you look at Apple, you know, Uber, Google, I mean, the, you know, the list of partnerships that have been incredible Southwest Airlines, there are a lot of great partnerships out there. So I think the key is, is that you need to, you need to find someone first and foremost that has integrity. A thief, a liar is a thief and a liar. And you can never partner with someone like that. So assuming you have someone that has, you know, integrity, because again, if you partner with somebody like that, I can’t fix that problem. You need to partner with somebody who bring something to the table that you don’t have. And let me it’s always one of these things. It’s really easy. Now I partner with people that bring time and expertise. So I partner with people that are going to run the day to day operations, so they’re going to be doing it full time. And number two is there typically within the industry that I’m looking to start a business It’s so that’s to the quality. So they either have time and expertise. The next thing is they have capital you partner with somebody who has money that you don’t have, okay? And then maybe you do your the industry knowledge or the person doing the hard work, or they can fulfil a job responsibility within the company that you desperately need. You know, maybe it’s marketing, they have a tremendous marketing background, maybe they were the CEO of a company before, so they’re gonna run the day to day operations. Maybe they understand manufacturing, global manufacturing, you partner with somebody like that. So as a general rule, you start with somebody that you know, that you would trust your bank account with. you’d let them spend that week at your house if you weren’t there, with all your possessions there. Okay, you, you trust them around your wife and kids, okay, and being serious, you got to have somebody of that level. Once you have that, then they have to bring something to the table so that five years down the road when you’re splitting a lot of money with them. You can you know that you could have never got the company to where it is without them. That is the that is the number one sentence. That’s the question you have to answer in a partnership. Without Mary or without john, I know the company would never be what it is today. Walt Disney knew without Roy he had been bankrupt. Okay, Steve Jobs knows that Steve Wozniak and that that beginning group deep down at you know, he knows that that company would have never been what it was, you know, Bill Gates knows without Paul Allen, you got to have somebody that in the beginning, they’re an absolute critical part of the equation.
David Ralph [12:42]
Now, every serial killer out there probably ticks all those boxes, and that’s how they get away with doing their bad stuff. Yeah. So how do you filter those out? Because in the early days of my business, I had a couple of business partners. I reckon they were most of those things, but what I discovered they didn’t have work ethic. And every time that we sort of reconvene, there was always an excuse that I hadn’t done something or Oh, things got tied up at home or whatever. So what is your filtering process for making sure that they are on the level
Sean Castrina [13:14]
for what is in your partnership agreement, and there’s where everybody goes wrong. I do a pre nuptial agreement. And it’s very clear, Mary’s responsible for A, B, C and D. And if Mary doesn’t perform A, B, C, and D, Mary loses their partnership. And if I need to pay somebody to do what Mary’s doing, it comes out of Mary’s profit. So you put from the very beginning, you just you list each person’s responsibilities. And if they don’t do them, that they’re out of the partnership that they can be perfectly it can be bought out for, you know, $1 and it’s, you know, so you just in the very beginning, you tell them, that we each have responsibilities, and if at any point you’re not doing yours. You know, you lose your partnership.
David Ralph [14:00]
And do they have? Do they accept that? Or?
Sean Castrina [14:03]
Because in the beginning, they do in the beginning?
Well, I think that they have to understand, you know, it’s like anything you set expectations. So if you if the expectation is we’re going to have fun and all that, that, that, that sounds great, but you have to, when you go into it, and they know that they have a critical role, like I said, in the beginning, there’s got to be something that they do that without it, the company would not do, you know, would not get off the ground. I if I founded the company, I would never start I would start them off like a two year trial period. So I would say to them, hey, listen, we’re gonna, we’ll split profit, like partners. But, you know, this is a two year trial period, and if this works two years into it, then I’ll give you a percentage of the company. So you can do a trial period and just, you know, split profit like a partnership, but you know, they have no equity in it. So you can, you know, get rid of them if they you know, they don’t you got to Give them a carrot. You know, you got to give them an incentive to stick around and to do the job sometimes,
David Ralph [15:05]
and what bad if it flips? And they’re not happy with you?
Sean Castrina [15:10]
You know, I listen to me if you’re in a hole, I can’t fix that. No, I can’t fix that. So, you know, I don’t have an asshole provision. Some people are just impossible to work with. They just are and I always say if you can’t, you know, you know, not everybody can be a Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg in that they have very little personality. And I always say, if you’re a genius, then you can I can excuse that if you’re one of the, you know, if you can start a $50 billion company and above, you don’t have to play well in the sandbox with others. But for all the rest of us, you know, you got to have some, you know, you got to be a type of person that people can work with.
David Ralph [15:50]
So obviously, you start loads of businesses and divorced families that all businesses aren’t going to be sort of rip roaring successes. What Calling to scan are we looking at out of those 20? What would you say? 10? do really well. Five do possible and five don’t?
Sean Castrina [16:09]
Yeah, I mean, my goals they all do well and I everyone that I’ve started but to made a profit and and I’ve sold off, you know pieces at a time. This this is the key to it. I think that people, you got to define success and let me just give you like a small little success like goal if you achieve if I make again because I partner in business, and I’m not doing the heavy lifting once I get it started, if a company makes me 30 to $35,000, and that’s very, very low but 30 to 35,000 of what I consider passive income because again, I partnered with somebody and and once it keeps going on, you know, I might be spending an hour a week in that company, maybe two hours a week. I’ve created a $1 million annuity in that you If you had a million dollars in the, you know, in an annuity, you got a three and a half percent return, you know, you’d maybe get $30,000 a year. So I think sometimes we have to define success. I, you know, there’s not, not every company makes a million dollars, I have a, I have one that, you know, makes a few million, I’ve got a few that make, you know, 500,000 and I’ve got a startup that I have right now that’s doing 300,000 but, but I don’t mind $30,000 of passive income, and I don’t mind making a half million and 750,000 and whatever. So all of its good with me, i don’t i think that you know, that we set unrealistic expectations for what a company is supposed to do. And that’s why I just keep starting when, you know, I try to start a business every year, which sometimes it’s just a new profit stream within a company or it’s a new division or whatever the case may be. But all those little businesses you know, when you you know, at some point really add up. So I think You got to get one success under your belt. And to get a second one and to get a third one.
David Ralph [18:06]
Let’s listen to Jim Carrey. And we’ll be back with Sean.
Jim Carrey [18:09]
My father could have been a great comedian, but he didn’t believe that that was possible for him. And so he made a conservative choice. Instead, he got a safe job as an accountant. And when I was 12 years old, he was let go from that safe job. And our family had to do whatever we could to survive. I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which was that you can fail at what you don’t want. So you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.
David Ralph [18:36]
Now, tying in with fat and also your success with your businesses, All my life I’ve had people say to me, you don’t put all your eggs in one basket. And that seems obvious. And you seem to be living that. So do you love it as well, like Jim says, or is it just a game to you? Where’s the real love of it? All?
Sean Castrina [18:59]
Yeah. of business. But the individual businesses I’m not, you know, I don’t think I think passion is an entrepreneurs mistress. I think it’s the, probably one of the biggest mistakes that people go into business thinking they have to have. In other words, example. I don’t necessarily have to love the actual business what it does, I just wanted to solve a problem. If the business is profitable, it pays for all my passions. The examples is I love golf. It doesn’t mean I go start a driving range or buy a golf course. Yeah, yeah, I you know, I love playing tennis. You know, it doesn’t mean I, you know, I start like some tennis club, my my money, the money I make pays for me to play the nicest golf courses anywhere and to, you know, to travel and to do you know, to be generous with my money to support philanthropic efforts that I could never do without a successful, you know, with the kind of, you know, income that I make. So, again, I think that Using, you know, feeling like the business you’re going to start has to be a passion. I think that’s a huge mistake that people, you know, use as a qualifier
David Ralph [20:11]
is you always hear, you know, find your passion and you never work again. And we did a show on Join Up Dots just recently where a guy connected with me. And he said, I want to be a photographer, and I want to do a photography business. He said, but I’m struggling to get that going. Do you think that I should start electric business, but it’s already lucrative? And I said, Yes. Just do it. Just do it. Just do that, which means you have more time to do what you love. So you wouldn’t like to create a business around your real loves, like tennis or, or golf because it would sort of take the shine away from the hobby element. Would that be right? I don’t think they’re profitable. I think there would be a bad business idea and I think they would fail miserably. Why Bobby’s not be profitable. Another
Sean Castrina [21:00]
example in where we live, okay, what would you you’d either have to start a driving range, which I’ve never seen a profitable driving range, okay? Or you’d have to buy a golf course why, you know, there are more than enough golf courses out there. So, you know, to me, it’s not a business model, and I could find a ball where I live, I could find a golf course every five miles. So I just, there’s other I don’t, I don’t view that as a super profitable business idea. I mean, to me, they don’t interest me You have to own a lot of land. There’s a tremendous risk, when I can go afford to go to any golf course. Again, I focus on what I love. What I love to do is start a business. I love employing people. I love the challenge of getting a business off the ground. I lift, you know, connecting all those dots. I love recruiting talent. There’s plenty within business and I’m absolutely passionate about that’s why I start businesses so often. But the individual business itself that doesn’t not have to be what I’m passionate about. I just want that to be a good idea. It’s more important for me to find the right idea that’s qualified, that you know, checks all the boxes, then, you know me being passionate about it, I get I get more excited about it after it checks all the boxes. I don’t I don’t do it the other way around.
David Ralph [22:20]
Yeah, I agree with you totally. I’ve just bought a failing car accessory shop. And I’m spending time getting it going at the moment is going very well. And as I said to the guy the other day, as soon as it’s really rocking and rolling, I’m out of there, but the money’s coming with me. And that’s how I am Yeah, and then I’m gonna build a caravan RV storage Park. I’ve got some land and we can’t get planning permission for houses. So we’re just going to tarmac it over and get people to sort of store their caravans and their Arby’s for a year and then and then are put money into something else. And it just seems obvious to me now that that’s the way to go and don’t create this huge egg. That a pandemic Come. I’ll give you a true. I have spoken to so many people that have told me until they’re blue in the face that I should create a speaking business. And now they’re literally walking around sort of trying to find the money to get McDonald’s, because the whole business has gone overnight because of the pandemic.
Sean Castrina [23:27]
Yeah, I mean, I believe me, I know, people that used to do a lot of speaking and they’re not speaking anytime soon. And they’re, I like, I’m not into I don’t need a sexy company. I want a durable business model that, you know, at three of my founding companies are around 20 years later, so I’m not looking for a sexy company. I’m looking for something that’s durable, that you know, that I think people will need 10 years from now and that I would bet my life on that. So yeah, I think you know, people, they again, they still Businesses that they get excited about personally. You still got to vet that business idea is there? Is there a big enough market interested in it like you are? Are they willing to pay? You know enough for that there’s a profit margin. You know, there’s business fundamentals. And no matter how excited you are about a business, if it doesn’t, you know, make it through the business vetting process or the business plan, process, whatever you want to call it. It’s still not a good idea.
David Ralph [24:31]
Now, I’m a great believer in as you say, non sexy businesses, plumbers, and especially like Emergency Plumbers, where people don’t say Oh, are save up for it, I don’t need it. They just sort of buy paper for the reasons of number one, that’s what they need. So they’re just going to pay for it. And the Secondly is, it’s on your doorstep. If customers are next door to you, you you literally just have to go and put some business cards through and you’re driving traffic into your business.
Sean Castrina [25:00]
I’ve made millions Listen, I own service companies and they’re from the A to B knows I own a digital marketing company. It’s service oriented. I have made millions of dollars. My biggest big business holding is a home improvement conglomerate of eight companies. So it’s funny you bring up plumbing, because I make between $95 an hour and $120 an hour for every one of my employees that will get in a van this morning. So when 35 van Gogh bands go out and they will do everything from putting a door lock in to putting a new roof on to building an addition to putting on new siding to read, you know, we’ll do I have designers that do kitchens, bathrooms, I mean, you name it, we do it. Eight companies, I you know, the average employee makes $30 an hour 95 220 think of that margin a robot cannot do with any of my people are going to do today. They cannot drive to a house at this point ascertain what the problem is. run over And then identify it and then do it. You know it that’s that’s not a sexy business but it’s a durable business because just like automotive repair, Home Repairs will always be with us. But something is always going to break or need to be replaced in a car and or a house. So I love those type of businesses.
David Ralph [26:19]
Yeah, I agree if there’s if there’s an emergency element, and also a laziness element, because as as husbands, we all have shelves and things we think we’re doing at a weekend. I get round to it, and fortunately and locked down most of us were desperate for those jobs and went around looking from left align centre. Actually, that’s an interesting point in lockdown did your business you’re sort of home repair business, did it dip or did it like in the United Kingdom? People were spending so much time looking at these things that gardeners and and sort of landscapers and stuff, we’re going boom time over here.
Sean Castrina [26:58]
You know, we had some areas that were down a little bit, some areas that went up. I mean, we’re still making really good money it you know, it’s not what it was last year I’d be I’d be wouldn’t be be a little disingenuous, what I found is is that people in America typically would look at a purchase, say we’re going to make, let’s say, you know, $20,000 and above and they froze it a little bit, you know, because they were unsure of their employment situation. So you had a degree of that, where they’re like, Hey, we want to do it, but we’re just want to sit on it for six months and just kind of make sure that our job stays the way it is. So that that was the one thing that I saw the kind of slowed a few things down. But we still, you know, we still made an awful lot of money. I mean, we you know, it wasn’t like owning a restaurant or a bar or gym, anything like that. So I’m more convinced now than ever how durable the model is?
David Ralph [27:48]
Yeah, no, I totally, totally agree with it. So let’s talk about your eight unbreakable rules for business startups success. I like the fact that it’s eight because we’ve got about a half hour So we can easily go through VA, if you can remember more I etched in your mind.
Sean Castrina [28:05]
Yes, no, no, they’re they’re pretty etched in my mind. So we’ll, I’ll go from memory and we’ll see which ones I forget, right?
David Ralph [28:12]
Number one is a big overlay over same.
Sean Castrina [28:17]
No, no. The first one is you have to be a great entrepreneur. And what I mean is, if you’re lazy, undisciplined, you have no focus. I don’t care how great your idea is you it’s going to fail. So you have to start with the idea. You know, you’ve got to be a great entrepreneur. I’ll bet on a successful person. I mean, a person that has the qualities of success over an idea any day of the year. So you know that I think that’s one of the key things is that you have to develop the qualities of successful people. Again, they’re very disciplined, they’re hard workers. Okay, you know, they typically have good people skills, good communication skills. There. relentless, you know, they’re relentlessly determined to get something done. So my first one is, is that you got to work on you.
David Ralph [29:06]
And I was looking at Warren Buffett the other day, and I’ve seen this thing flows up quite a lot of the time, but I saw reflected on it. And he said, the difference between successful people and really, really successful people, is the really, really successful people say no to almost everything.
Sean Castrina [29:22]
Yes, no question. No question. I mean, again, the person is the most important equation in any company.
David Ralph [29:30]
So what do you say no to while we’re just talking about that?
Sean Castrina [29:33]
Yeah, I mean, again, as he’s you know, as everybody knows, it’s saying no is critical, I say no to anything that gets in the way of the Yes, that I’m working towards. I’m super focused on like one major thing each quarter, and normally one major thing each year, so I say no to anything that that will not bring that most important thing to reality. So it’s easy for me to qualify. That and you know, Steve Jobs said the same thing. You know? It’s, it’s the ability to say no to good things. So you can say yes to the one great thing. So, you know, that’s, you know, I mean, I get a lot of good business ideas, I get a lot of good investment offers. That’s fine, but I want to focus on the one great one and we’ve
David Ralph [30:20]
got so shaving at the moment. Have you got a great one at the moment? I assume you have.
Sean Castrina [30:24]
Yeah, I’m working on one right now actually. And we’re actually trying to launch it in a kind of a beta test one service to see how this one service works. And then if we get it off, if it has a target customer that we could actually service a lot more, you know, services to so yeah, I’m working on right now that very much excites me. Brilliant stuff. Okay. So you’ve read about focusing on yourself and become the best entrepreneur you can possibly be. Give us number two. Number two is that you know, your business idea must be qualified and this is where I talked about passion versus beauty. Prophet I want a business idea that when I vet it, and I test it, it’s qualified it meets all the qualifications that I need for a business to work again too many people start a business that they’re excited about. But it’s not necessarily a good business idea. There’s no marketplace for it. Just real quick example. When I first started my handyman company first started with a handyman company 21 years ago, only because I couldn’t get anything done at my house. I was in a shopping centre because I wanted visibility because I thought people would get walked in people say come fix this company. Yeah. On the on the left side of me there was a guy who sold train sets he would come to work every day and like a conductors outfit would like you know, the train with Yeah, loved it. Nobody love trains more than this fellow went out of business within six months because he was the only person who loved trains as much as he did. To the other side of me was a lady who sold scrapbooking stuff. That’s when scrapbooking was really big. Well scrapbooking works. If it’s in Have a hobby lobby or a big craft store. But in an inning by itself, there’s not enough revenue there was she was out of business within six months. Both of them were way more passionate about their businesses than me. But my business was qualified. I knew there was a market wanting it. I tested it. And you know, I ended up making millions and millions of dollars. So, again, I want a business that, you know, is it has profitable potential. And I don’t worry about passion. Yeah,
David Ralph [32:31]
totally agree with this. I can see. Yeah, Mr. trainset. Yeah, yeah. Because we have local streets here. And you see shops pop up. And I always say to my wife, that won’t be around long. You just look at it and you think why would somebody even want to go in there and they don’t, they just, they don’t and bear in mind, they’ve got to pay rent and lights and stuff on the property. So they’ve got their spending before I even get it in. You know,
Sean Castrina [32:57]
it was very much so. And then number three is, you have to have a plan for success. It’s amazing, you know, people will, you know, launch a business and I’m like, well, what’s your plan? After you get it up? Okay, you’re gonna get you have there’s a business plan has a launch phase, and then it kind of has a survival phase. And then as a growth phase, that’s kind of the three phases in every company, you get it off the ground, you survive the first two years, and then you grow it. But no, they don’t have a plan for that. You know, there’s never a business plan. There’s always ask them like, what, like, how are you going to acquire customers? You know, what growth opportunities do you have past your first offering? Like, what if the first offering doesn’t go over as well as you want? Do you have a, you know, another route to go off of the GSM other options, you have to have a plan for success with your business.
David Ralph [33:52]
So when planning the value ladder, you’re looking at multiple income streams that you can mix and match and to Do you see the optimum one?
Sean Castrina [34:02]
That’s absolutely so, you know, I start a business with, you know, I plan on selling this. And then what happens is, is that a customer says, What do you offer this, or I see that the like, they work hand in hand together. You know, like, you know, in the automotive business, somebody may start, you know, like with oil changes and state inspections in America, and then they start getting tremendous requests for you know, transmissions so they hire somebody who’s really great with transmissions and then they partner with that person. So they add a transmission section or whatever, you know, typically one service leads to the next service or look at look at Amazon, it started selling books, and look where it is now. They were always you know, what the genius behind selling books is that nobody realised is it books actually have more skews than any single product line, there’s more books than any other product line you could possibly be involved in. So the ability to provide that made them bulletproof to be able to do anything else they wanted. They picked the hardest thing possible from the beginning to offer.
David Ralph [35:15]
Okay, right. So you got to work out your value ladder. And if you don’t know what a value ladder is, simplest way is go to your local carwash. And you can see it listed in front of you five pounds drive your car was 10 pounds to have it validated inside 20 pounds and 30 pounds. And look at how you construct your business to push people through different pay schemes dependent on the value point that I can see from your business. I love the carwash being when you look at a shop
Sean Castrina [35:42]
in I was gonna say that, you know, I hadn’t heard that before, but that is the perfect illustration of an upsell in a value ladder. You start with a you know $5 basic wash, and then by the time you leave, you’re paying $25 and somebody is wiping down your wheels. Yeah,
David Ralph [35:57]
yeah, I look at it all the time. And I think I’ve got By now, so number four, what would number four be?
Sean Castrina [36:03]
You need to protect yourself and your business. We talked about this with the partnership, but okay, if you have, do you have any patents? Do you have any intellectual property? Well, you know, you need to protect those. I mean, right away, if you’re going into a partnership, do you have a partnership agreement? Do you have all the necessary like insurances, or you incorporated things that people start businesses and they leave themselves so open for something major that could take them out of it? The bottom line is you don’t have insurance in a claim hit you, you’re out of business, because you can’t afford to pay that claim. You have a bad partnership, and your partner leaves and they take you know, your customers with you, you’re out of business. So if you don’t protect yourself and your business, you know, these are the things that can absolutely put you out of business is my rule number four,
David Ralph [36:50]
and all this stuff isn’t kind of sexy stuff. And that’s why people probably skipped past it.
Sean Castrina [36:55]
Exactly. And then number five is you got to build a build a successful team. Your company will only be as good as the people who work in and around you and who helped you grow that company. Your ability to identify and recruit and retain talent will set the future of your company. If you can’t, if you can’t bring on really good people, you know, your company has definitely has a very low ceiling.
David Ralph [37:20]
And once again, how do people do this when they went out there, and they’re on a shoestring they’re trying to get a business going. And they always think to themselves, once I once I get the next big in van, I start looking at delegating, but actually they end up sort of wrapping themselves in spaghetti and doing everything themselves.
Sean Castrina [37:39]
Well, I think that goes back to the number one, you know, successful people know the power of delegation, successful people understand that we all have limited strengths. So I understand that I you know, there’s only about three things I do really great anyway. So that goes back to number one. Successful people understand that you I only have so many hours in a day and you can’t do everything. And I would much rather have 10 people working in my areas of weakness than me, you know, fumbling around. So part of that goes back to number one. But the idea of building a team, you know, you think about it, every area of your business needs someone preferably, that’s super, you know, fantastic at it. Like, if you’re not how can the owner be the number one salesperson to I mean, if that’s the case, that business has a very limited ceiling, because there’s only one of you. So you can’t be the sales force as well. You can’t handle handle manufacturing or handle the service department and be the one giving estimates or providing sales. You know, who’s doing the customer service. You know, there’s just if you think of, you know, soccer and or, you know, any sport, one person doesn’t, you know, unless we’re playing tennis or golf, there’s very few things where you can be the only person and so it just would make sense that you just need to put it To around you. Yeah,
David Ralph [39:01]
totally. So that was number five. So number six,
Sean Castrina [39:05]
marketing is not optional. And what I mean by that is this idea that you’re going to be a word of mouth business. That’s that’s just, that just doesn’t make any sense. You know, if you look at all the big companies, they all market, okay, they all market and so you know that you see Amazon commercials in America, Microsoft, Apple, you know big companies, Mercedes, you know in one form or another they’re communicating their you know what their brand is and they’re communicating to their target customer. From the minute you start your business, you need to start attracting target customers. Marketing is just, it’s just not optional. So you need to have a strategy for how you’re going to do that.
David Ralph [39:46]
And that’s the key thing isn’t it is the strategy. You know, we see nowadays people jump on LinkedIn and they go onto Facebook and they just do a bit here and a bit bear. You’re much better off. I was talking earlier and I love this, but there was a lady On the show recently, who I said to her, how do you do your marketing? And she said, basically, I know what my products are. I look for conferences where people are interested in those products. And then I go there. And she doesn’t do any sort of Facebook or social media or anything. She just goes and speaks to have captive audience. And it was like a dream.
Sean Castrina [40:21]
Yeah, I mean, wherever you’re however you can get in front of your target audience. There’s your marketing, your marketing has, all it does is it attracts and sells to your target customers. So if you need to, you know, from day one, you need to know how you’re going to do that.
David Ralph [40:38]
And you don’t want to sit next to Thomas Thomas the Tank Engine and Sally scrapbook over?
Sean Castrina [40:43]
No, no, neither one of them. They had no marketing plan, that’s for sure. And then rule number seven is know your numbers. You know, you know back in the day you had like a baseball card and you knew all the statistics of your favourite players. As a business owner, you got to be the same way. I love when you You know, I love and I’m being sarcastic when I talked to a business owner and I asked him, you know, what, what’s your profit margins? Or, you know, what was your income? What was your revenue? You know, critical numbers, you know, what is your, you know, what is your margin between your labour and what you comes in on a service? How much do you pay to acquire a customer? What’s your acquisition rate? These are basic questions in business and they have no idea what they are, you know, I might as well ask them, you know, you know what, em squared equals, you know, whatever, they have no idea. And as a business owner, you need to know, there’s basic numbers that you absolutely have to know, I get a spreadsheet every single day, between 430 and 5pm, with every critical number of all my companies, so I can see a negative trend. You know, within three days, I don’t get it every quarter when I by that point, I can’t fix the problem or the damage has already been done. There could have been an eight week trend. That you know, that my accountant gives me these numbers. And I’m like, Well, I see we had a run Bad quarter. You know, I don’t want to wait that long.
David Ralph [42:03]
Again. Can you see? Well, you got the numbers. Can you see what’s the issue?
Sean Castrina [42:09]
Absolutely. That’s the one thing that good business owners see problems before everyone else. example let’s just say that there’s a number that you typically are acquiring customers that every day so every day you’re getting a request for this many estimates are this many people are going on your website, let’s just say the number conversation is 10. Every day you’re getting 10. And then you see that you got three, two and three and four. Well, that’s a trend now that it only took me four days to see a trend. Now let’s say I waited 30 days to see that night and at the end of that quarter I realised that my acquisition rate was one third of what it was the quarter before so I might look at that and then have to go back to my advertising and see what what’s affecting this Do we need to change our ad is our you know, our call to action is strong enough, did a new competitor pop up? That I must have missed out on me. So thing has happened that has caused this. And if you don’t know those numbers, you can’t fix it.
David Ralph [43:05]
Yeah, boy. Okay, so was that six or seven?
Sean Castrina [43:08]
Seven, that was sevens. And so the last one, rule number eight, and I’ll give it a quote first. Failure is best heard through a second hand story. Okay? So you need to learn from experience and and that can be other people’s experience. You know, it, get mentored by somebody who has owned a business before, if you’re going to do a startup, have somebody in your orbit, who knows a little bit about business, take that person for coffee or for beer, whatever it is. People don’t mind giving advice. I can’t explain it. But most people will give you advice and they’ll do it for free. You know, people don’t 30 minutes to have coffee with you once a month. You just say listen, I’d love to take you out for coffee or lunch. I just want to I’m starting a business and I just would love to run a couple questions by you. If you ask three people, one of them are going to say yes So, you know, you need to learn from other people’s experience and you learn from experiences that you discover, you know, you need to learn on the fly. But, you know, you’ve got to be, you got to, you got to expose yourself to some knowledge. You know, you can’t you start your business and this is what you know, you got to start learning. You know, you got to keep expanding your knowledge level, whether that’s, you know, again, being mentored hiring a business coach, partnering maybe with somebody who knows more than you do. Maybe you take a class, maybe you take a course, maybe you’re reading books, but that learning curve has to continue to improve. You can’t five years in business, you better know a lot more than you do the day you started.
David Ralph [44:41]
I had Mr. JACK Canfield from the Chicken Soup for the Soul series on the show. And he was telling me a story that he’s bought was doing very, very well. He was sending I can’t remember the numbers but say it was selling a million copies. And this guy was selling 5 million copies and he connected with And he said, you know, would you mind spending some time with me? And the guy said, Look, I’d love to, but I’m really, really busy. I’ve got to go from here to the airport, and I’ve got to go from here to here. And so even though jack Canfield was really successful, he said, Look, how about if I pick you up, and I run you to the airport, and I run you around for the day, but you just talked to me while we’re driving. And he did it. And he got all the answers that he wanted. And that said, Mr. Canfield level.
Sean Castrina [45:27]
Yes, no, you listen to me, if you want to get knowledge you want, you know, you can get it. I did it. Last week, I reached out to I had somebody on my podcast, because I, you know, obviously, I’m the host of the 10 minute entrepreneur podcast, and it does extraordinarily well. So I’m always interviewing guests, and I interviewed somebody who has had a really incredible YouTube platform, which I didn’t quite understand. When I got off my podcast. I said to my team, I want to talk to this guy. So I sent him an email and I said, Listen, I’d like to hire you, as My my YouTube coach, you know, super well known person. He said, Great. Sure. Here’s my cell phone, let’s connect. You know, and I you if you ask people, they’re gonna help you if you ask enough people, they will help you people want to propel people, they want to share what they know.
David Ralph [46:21]
So for all the listeners out there, Shawn, let’s just summarise the titles so that they can get these eight points in their heads because we’ve spent about 25 minutes talking about this. So so the eight titles,
Sean Castrina [46:34]
All right, let me take you through them real quick. All right, number one, you know you need you must be a great entrepreneur, okay, you need to work on yourself, you need to have the qualities of successful entrepreneur. Number two, your business idea needs to be qualified, you need to test it you need to vet it, you don’t just start a business you’re excited about. Number three, you need to plan for success. Your business need to have a business plan or some strategy for why it’s going to happen. succeed. Number four, you need to protect yourself and your business. Number five, you need to build a successful team recruit and retain a good team around you. Number six, marketing is not optional. Number seven, know your numbers. Number eight, learn from others. Learn from experience learn. Rule number eight is keep learning.
David Ralph [47:28]
Oh, I thought you were gonna go move and I was hanging on every every word you were saying now
Sean Castrina [47:33]
that’s that’s the eighth
David Ralph [47:34]
nasty I hate drawing. Okay, I thought we were gonna get a director’s cut and some extra stuff thrown in. Well, normally we play a lot of sound clips and sort of adverts and stuff on the show, but I didn’t want to break into Sean’s messages there. So I’ve held back but what we can’t hold back on is the key part of the show the Sermon on the mic when we’re going to send Shawn back in time to have a one on one with his younger self and if he could go back in time and Speak to the young Shawn, what age and what advice would he speak to? Well, we’re going to find out because I got to play the music. And when it fades, Is there time to talk bass is the Sermon on the mic.
Unknown Speaker [48:19]
With the speed of the show,
Unknown Speaker [48:22]
Sean Castrina [48:35]
All right, what I would tell my younger self, definitely around 16 years old on is every decision you make has consequences, good or bad. So every time you say I want to do that, it’s going to have a consequence. Every time somebody influences you to do that, it’s going to have a consequence. So every single choice you make every decision you make good or bad. That it will have a consequence. That’s my sermon on the mic advice.
David Ralph [49:05]
every choice you make. Did you feel like singing that when he was doing that?
Sean Castrina [49:11]
You know, when you started it, then it hit me. I said that that actually ties in pretty well.
David Ralph [49:15]
Yeah, absolutely spot on. So Shawn, what’s the number one best way that our audience can connect with you?
Sean Castrina [49:21]
You know, two things make it easy as if you go to my website, Sean castering.com. To get my books. I have a free book up there because during the virus, my world’s greatest business plan book is free. And what’s great about that is it has a chapter in there on how to be a great entrepreneur. Remember rule number one of my first book, I basically put it in this book the 10 qualities of that great entrepreneurs have it’s free, no strings attached. It’s it’s on my website, you get a free ebook of it and it has a template if you need to do a business plan. My my podcast 10 minute entrepreneur podcast if you want to find if you want to learn how to start and grow a business every day, 10 minutes. It’s a 10 minute walk In a podcast, that’s really how you get the most from me, my personal site and the podcast,
David Ralph [50:06]
where I have a link to both on the show notes at Join Up Dots to make it as easy as possible. Sean, thank you so much for spending time with us today joining up those dots. And please come back again when you’ve got more dots to join up because I do believe that by joining up the dots and connecting our pasts is the best way to build our futures. Shawn, thank you so much.
Sean Castrina [50:26]
Thank you so much for having me on the podcast.
David Ralph [50:30]
So we normally play a lot more sound clips and stuff, but um, we didn’t want to break into it as I was saying, so I love that. Put Yeah, don’t put your eggs in one basket and look for functional businesses. You may not love them, but you’ll love the money and if one dips and I’ve one builds up, you know, so many people are going for the passion. And I think Yeah, I used to think that I did used to think that but I I’m totally changed on that. Now. I’ve spoken to To many people to think that the passion based business is absolutely right, you’ve got to decide on what you want from a business. And if it is, but you just don’t want to work again, then work on that. And then think of it as success. If you can do something for two days, which means you have five days off, is that success to where you are at the moment. There’s all ways of looking at it. But certainly, if somebody is already out there, and they’re doing it, and things like plumbers and electricians and car repairs, and people that put up shells, they may not be sexy jobs, but people are willing to pay for them. Okay, so think about that do a list of the most practical unsexy jobs that people will pay for. And then can you find somebody that needs to do those and can you learn online skills to drive traffic to them, and so you don’t actually have to be involved. You just create the traffic very, very easy to do. Until next time, thank you so much as always For everybody who’s listening, thank you so many people were connecting with us booking times, I’m chatting to you all the time food away. And I hope to speak to a lot of more of you in the future. Until then, see you again. Bye. You ready to make a full time living online? Check out the amazing Join Up Dots
Unknown Speaker [52:19]
business coaching. Hello, my name is Alan. And I’ve just completed the excellent eight week course with David.
Unknown Speaker [52:25]
Before I started working with David Actually, I had no idea at all, where to start.
Unknown Speaker [52:31]
I had a lot of ideas about what I probably thought was going to be good in business. David was out to help me through that though, to find that passion.
Unknown Speaker [52:40]
Within literally minutes. We had
Unknown Speaker [52:42]
we had a business idea.
David Ralph [52:44]
And for the last seven weeks, we’ve been building on it and building on that and the position I’m in now, I don’t think I’ve ever got here
Unknown Speaker [52:51]
on my own because of the amount of information that David gives the structure. He’s got the full package here and he explains it in a way that I can understand His support is phenomenal. I feel like this is the way business is supposed to work. David
Unknown Speaker [53:06]
helped me understand. Okay, what were the next logical steps that I should do? How should How can I get this up and running? So I would really recommend this as an excellent course helping you. If you have an idea if you have no idea, really teasing that out and at some of the practicalities and steps to take to really launch your business, whether as a full time job was a side hustle. So it was really excellent. I recommend it for anybody thinking about setting up their own business.
Unknown Speaker [53:31]
I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say David will totally save you years.
Unknown Speaker [53:35]
Thank you, David, for your amazing help and support which keeps on going. And we certainly couldn’t be where we are today without you. So
David Ralph [53:45]
you’re awesome. So if you would love to become my next success story and have your own life changing online business following my step by step system, fine tuned over many years to take away the effort and expense that others struggle with, then come across to join Join Up dots.com and book a free call with myself. Let’s get you living easy life as it’s there waiting for you to get it that is Join Up dots.com business coaching.
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